Top Arab Film Director Denounces Arab Anti-Semitism

Radicalized Muslim youth (Illustrative Photo: © AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

A leading Arab film director has spoken out against anti-Semitism pervading the Arab world, as reported by The Algemeiner. French-Tunisian film director Said Ben Said was pulled from the jury of the 28th Carthage Film Festival over his previous work with Israelis.

It is interesting that he was canned for his connection with Israeli film director Nadav Lapid, rather than Roman Polanski, who raped a 13-year-old girl.

But Said Ben Said did not blame the Carthage Film Festival, who he said “was probably right to spare both themselves and me a media lynching.”

Instead, in an op-ed in Le Monde, he slammed the Arab world for what he regards as institutionalized and widespread anti-Semitism.

“No one can deny the misery of the Palestinian people, but it must be admitted that the Arab world is, in its majority, antisemitic,” he wrote. “This hatred of Jews has redoubled in intensity and depth not because of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but with the rise of a certain vision of Islam.”

“A Pew Research poll in 2011 found that between 96 and 98 percent of respondents in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian territories held hostile views toward Jews, while a global Anti-Defamation League poll in 2015 recorded similar levels of antipathy,” The Algemeiner reported, backing up Ben Said’s assertion. “Even in Tunisia, a relatively liberal nation with a small Jewish population, the ADL found that 86 percent of respondents were anti-Semitic.”

Ben Said is by no means the first person to comment on the prevalence of anti-Semitism in the Arab world. New York Times columnist Bret Stephens has noted the “long-abiding and all-consuming hatred of Israel” prevalent in Arab countries. He chalked this animosity down to anti-Semitism, which he called the “disease of the Arab mind.”



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Elliot Friedland
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.

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